It is mainly the inhabitants of the global South who suffer from the effects of climate change. They are faced with the destruction of their living space and the violation of their human rights. At the same time, existing human rights standards offer the possibility of establishing points of reference during international climate negotiations to address such questions as adjustment programs designed to confront the effects of climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, technology transfers, and the future of development. As a frame of reference, human rights standards can serve to accurately evaluate policies and to pinpoint their failures, particularly regarding how these policies affect the world’s weakest inhabitants. This publication by the political scientist Theodor Rathgeber uses case examples to illustrate the dangers faced by indigenous peoples in particular, as well as the tools the UN human rights system gives them to support their struggle for just climate policies.
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